The Impact of Somatic and Germline RET Mutations in Medullary Thyroid Cancer

Vivek Subbiah, MD, explains what sets medullary thyroid cancer apart from other thyroid cancer histologies.

Vivek Subbiah, MD, an associate professor, Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics, Division of Cancer Medicine, and executive medical director, Department of Medical Oncology Research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, explains what sets medullary thyroid cancer apart from other thyroid cancer histologies.

Over 60% of patients with metastatic MTC harbor the RET mutations, says Subbiah. In addition, a large proportion of patients also harbor germline MEN1 and MEN2 mutations. The presence of these germline RET mutations account for 20% of all cases of MTC.

RET mutations lead to more aggressive disease, Subbiah explains. The majority of these patients need to be treated with a RET inhibitor. In contrast, in papillary, anaplastic, and differentiation thyroid cancer, the presence of a RET fusion is seen as a driver mechanism.